Who would have thought that a little dirt under the fingernails or jumping through a mud puddle would be good for a girl? At least that’s what a study through Oregon State University claims.

Let’s face it, it’s expected of boys, but not always girls.

I guess I was actually one of the rare types. I wasn’t a prissy type girl or a stereotypical tomboy. I enjoyed playing with my dolls, but I never turned down the chance to jump into a mud puddle or play in the creek.

Now a new study out by Oregon State University says expecting girls to be neat and tidy could actually be hurting their health in the long run.

The study, “Gender and hygiene: Could cleanliness be hurting girls?”came out in January.

The study contends that there is a link between increased hygiene and higher rates of asthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders.

Sharyn Clough, a philosopher with Oregon State University, says that health officials need to go back and look at the data collected as to some of the diseases more women are treated for than men.

“There is a significant difference in the types and amounts of germs that girls and boys are exposed to, and this might explain some of the health differences we find between women and men,” Clough said in a written statement on Oregon State University’s website.

I have to admit, I don’t know if I agree with this study. First of all, it seems kind of stereotypical. I know they contend that the data collected shows women with higher level of allergies and asthma, but not all girls want to play dolls all the time.

Clough added she does not recommend parents feeding girls dirt in order to stay healthy, but she does feel more outdoor time is needed for all kids.

I know I have allergies, but I was definitely not kept from dirt, dust or the outdoors. So how do the authors of this study figure that in?

I think that it’s about balance and luck of the draw! Sometimes it’s more about genetics than anything.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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